(Turn up your volume.)
One of the dangers of putting one’s iPod on “shuffle” on the way to work is that it can act like a time machine and will instantly transport one back in time.
That’s what happened to me this morning. I got tired of listening to sports radio, so I switched over to my iPod.
Suddenly I was back in high school, driving my aged muscle car (’69 Mustang) through the humid morning air of the sleepy little Southern town I was growing up in. The powerful 302 V8 engine (with illegal glass packs) roared loudly as I careened down the winding avenue on the way to school with the windows down (no air conditioning). I had the radio on full blast (no tape player). My out of control afro waved in the wind. I was in faded bell-bottom jeans, earth shoes, and a skin tight T-shirt with some goofy logo on it.
What had the power to inflict these horrible fashion atrocities on me and to send me back in time so quickly? Why … it was ….
As inscrutable as the lyrics were to this song, it was one of those rare songs that was in a key I could actually sing along with comfortably. So, I’d fake my way through the cryptic lyrics so I could make it to the chorus, where I would sing along at full volume, making sure to let my voice get a little gravelly, just like Manfred’s. I didn’t know what the other lyrics were or what they meant. I didn’t care. It got the adrenaline pumping.
Another classic gem from that era was:
Keep in mind that I only had a radio, so I had to listen to whatever was being broadcast. I couldn’t fast forward to the next song or change tapes. But this was another song that was roughly in my key, so I’d sing along at top volume. This was the precursor to heavy metal and hair bands and passed for “edgy” music back then, though today it is just considered schmaltzy and campy.
Another example of the sort of stuff I’d be listening to as I was busy acting like someone growing up in the 1970s was this little gem.
The guitar hook in this song made me stomp on the accelerator, let another barrel of the carburetor kick in, and my head would snap back, the glass packs would let out a gawd-awful roar, and my mag-wheeled, wide tires could barely keep a grip on the dewy asphalt. I almost always arrived at school sliding into a parking space sideways, the acrid smell of burning rubber drifting by me in clouds of white smoke.
Hot damn it felt good to be alive!
But the problem with time travel is that you always have to come back to your own time.